The “stolen” Jeep FC-150 is officially gone, meaning I will be conducting an electric vehicle conversion on an absolute rustbucket — my 1958 Willys FC-170. While this may not make sense to many of you, I did put some thought into this decision. Hear me out.
I own too many cars. This has become far more apparent now that I’m no longer just a writer for a car website, but instead someone with a leadership role. Take yesterday, for example. I should have been writing, editing, researching, and answering emails, but instead I was elbow deep inside the piece-of-crap AMC 360 in my 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle (more on that steaming pile later today; hold onto your hats). I’m also getting old, and want to diversify my life a little bit more, as I’ve been spending 95% of all my weekends of the past seven years either wrenching or scouring junkyards. I’ve been in deep, folks. Real deep.
Anyway, all this is to say that I’m more serious than ever about downsizing my fleet. Here’s a look at my plan for my 12 machines:
The first to go was supposed to by my black 1991 Jeep Cherokee five-speed (there on the left), but you all remember the shitstorm that happened 20 minutes after my buyer drove away: I received a phone call saying the thing overheated and refused to start. So I had the car towed back to my place, and that sale has stalled until I can swap a cylinder head.
Luckily, yesterday’s sale of my sketchy 1957 Willys FC-150 went a lot smoother. I received an envelope of $5,000 cash, the buyer — who owns a bunch of property and will be using the Willys as a runabout — received a Jeep with a bill-of-sale hastily written out on a piece of paper, and that was that.
When I first bought the red FC-150, I referred to it as “stolen” because it not only lacks a title, it lacks any form of vehicle identification number whatsoever unless you count the engine number. That engine, by the way, is the wrong one for the Jeep (and oh by the way, it’s seized). I bought this Jeep from a guy who just showed up at my house asking if I wanted a farm truck he had stored in a warehouse filled with all sorts of household junk — all just piled up high in small mountains. Ignoring many red flags, I gave the guy two grand, and then towed the vehicle to my backyard, where it has sat for over six months.
I considered using this machine over my other FC as the basis for an EV conversion, but I’ve decided against it. First, I don’t want to deal with the titling/VIN paperwork hassle. Is it less hassle than basically welding up an entirely new body? Sure. But let’s be honest about the stolen Jeep’s body: It’s largely made up of riveted patch panels and Bondo/body filler. Look at this:
Between the missing paperwork, the bondo, the missing bed, and the fact that the 1957 FC-150’s frame is much narrower than the FC-170s and likely too narrow to fit a Tesla drive unite, it was clear what I had to do. The stolen Jeep had to go, and I had to keep ol’ Rusty But Trusty:
Luckily, you all agreed when I asked you what I should do:
That red Jeep may have been pretty, but it was a big liar. My blue machine here is basically Swiss Cheese, but it’s not trying to impress anyone. It runs and drives, its frame is solid, and that’s about all it’s got going for it. But at least there’s no weird bullshit going on with the paperwork or bodywork — everything is out in the open.
So sketchy FC-150, you made me $3,000 that I can put into bodywork/batteries for my blue machine, and for that I’m grateful. But good riddance.
Hopefully I’ll fix my Cherokee XJ’s cylinder head soon, I’ll find a buyer for my Valiant, and I’ll fix my Golden Eagle so I can part ways with it, too. But that last one is not going well at all. In the end, I hope to be left with six vehicles stateside, plus my 1969 Chrysler Valiant ute in Australia and a diesel manual Chrysler Voyager in Germany.
Finally I’ll have a normal-person fleet.